A month into the 2019 season the Oakland Athletics shipped Jerry Blevins to the Braves for cash considerations. Fast forward 16 days, and he was DFA’d by the Braves. Fast forward 4 more days, and his contract was purchased by the Braves. The 2nd time around, he stuck with the Braves and did a pretty good job.
The 2019 Results
Blevins, when used right, is an above average reliever. When used poorly, he can get really, really bad. For most of his career, Blevins has been a known LOOGY, having exceptional results against LHHs while getting hit hard against RHP. This year was no different, but the splits were more extreme as he held LHHs to a remarkable .540 OPS while RHHs teed off with an .831 OPS. I mentioned this a lot this year, but in a year of the LOOGY’s LAST STAND, Blevins saw slightly more RHHs (72 PAs) than LHHs (69 PAs) and while that may not seem like a big deal, the mere fact that his splits were not utilized more to show his strength was baffling.
Blevins pitched 32.1 innings, carried a 3.90 ERA walked 4.5/9 and struck out 10.3/9. The fastball lost life and is no longer a plus pitch, but the curve ball, Jerry’s calling card, is aging really well and could keep him employed for a few more years. In fact, it was one of the best curve balls in the game:
Blevins will be 36 for most of the 2020 season, and while he can still be effective, with the new pitching rules, it’s going to be hard for LOOGY’s to find regular spots in a Major League pen. But Jerry seems to be a well-liked dude and the Braves might be able to utilize one more cheap lefty in their bullpen for 2020 should they go big elsewhere.
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